Mood Boost with Tomatoes

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The initial excitement of the wintertime always seems to subside during the month of February. Whether it’s because the snow on the ground is no longer fresh and untouched, you’ve already hit the slopes a few times, or the wonderment of the holidays seems like a distant memory, this is the time of year that creates a sense of longing for springtime sunshine.

But, you’re in luck. According to new research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, there may be a way to help ward off those seasonal doldrums without having to look any further than your own kitchen or pantry.  Those cans of tomatoes—tomato soup, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce—may hold promise.

A group of researchers from China and Japan analyzed the dietary habits of just under 1000 Japanese men and women aged 70 years and older. Among these individuals, it was found that eating tomatoes two to six times per week caused a 46 percent decline in having mild and severe depression symptoms. Even better? Eating tomatoes everyday decreased depression risk by 52 percent.

The study only further emphasizes the many health benefits of eating tomato products. And during the colder months, it’s especially easy to add tomatoes into your warming winter recipes as almost every popular hearty dish calls for them! Try one of these nourishing meals to help fight off the wintertime blues:

Have a lot of time?

Make your own tomato-based casserole or meatloaf, such as this Slow Cooked Asian Meatloaf. It will be well worth the wait!

Have a little bit of time?

Make it an Italian night! Dish up a serving of whole wheat noodles, and top with tomato-based spaghetti sauce and a little parmesan cheese. Or, top a prebaked pizza dough with tomato sauce and your favorite toppings. These make for the ultimate hearty meals in a cinch!

Have no time?

Heat up leftovers! Soups and chili make for great leftovers as they’re easy to make in big batches and their flavors only intensify with time. Simply store the extra amount in the freezer for a nutritious and mood-boosting meal when you need it.

If you’re looking for another great soup recipe, look no further:

french_rice_soup

French Wild Rice Vegetable Soup

This hearty soup is the perfect accompaniment for a sandwich or salad any time of the year. Packed with the health benefits of tomatoes, it will be sure to keep your spirit up all winter long.

5 cups water
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cube vegetable buillion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup uncooked wild rice
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 cup sliced leeks
1 tsp Herbes de Provence (seasoning blend)
Dash black pepper

1. Place all ingredients in a large pot.
2. Cover with a tight lid and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour, until wild rice and vegetables are tender.
4. May need to add additional water to replace water lost in evaporation. Should make a thick, hearty soup.

Makes 6 servings (1 cup each)

Nutritional Information per Serving: 89 calories, 20 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 0 g fat, 307 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

 

 

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